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BC needs stronger pesticide rules, says doctors' group

Proposed pesticide regulations for British Columbia are worthless, says the head of an environmental group of doctors and other health care professionals.

"It would be better to have nothing," said Gideon Forman, the executive director of Canadian Physicians for the Environment, which is calling for much stronger legislation. "As far as our doctors' organization is concerned, it's worthless. It doesn't protect kids or the environment. I think it's a real failure."

The B.C. government introduced amendments to the Integrated Pest Management Act on Feb. 20 as part of a wide-ranging bill, one of several that may not pass before the legislature stops sitting. The new regulations would require, with some exceptions, anyone applying pesticides to landscaped private land to have a license.

Premier Christy Clark had previously promised a ban on using pesticides for cosmetic purposes, but the Liberal majority on a committee last year voted against recommending such a ban.

"It doesn't even fulfill Christy Clark's promise," said Forman. "Our doctors say it doesn't matter who sprays those poisons, they're still toxic."

CAPE is collaborating with the David Suzuki Foundation and the group Environmental Defence on an advertising campaign that will run in nine B.C. newspapers until the end of March calling for a ban on the use and sale of non-essential pesticides.

Such a ban would restrict pesticides from lawns, gardens, parks and sports fields, and allow them to only be used to protect public health or for commercial agriculture, the ad said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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